How to Treat and Stop Dog Diarrhea

Table of Contents

Overview | Symptoms | Treatment | Q&A


"Dog diarrhea has a number of causes including infection, ingestion of foreign objects, food allergy, food intolerance (inability to digest) and parasites. Causes can be mild, such as stomach upset, to cancer.  

Diarrhea in dogs can appear suddenly (acute) or chronic, which means that it lasts for a long time. In most cases, canine diarrhea in healthy dogs is caused by an inflammation or infection in the intestinal tract, a condition called gastroenteritis.

Since dogs naturally eat natural items they find outdoors such as a dead animal or plant which causes gastrointestinal irritation, they are prone to diarrhea. Most cases that are caused by ingesting items outdoors will go away with no medical intervention.

When To Visit The Vet:

Signs of a more chronic or severe case requiring a trip to a veterinarian includes seeing canine diarrhea and vomiting together, a dog that refuses to eat , lethargy or avoidance of normal play, bloating, or acting as if the dog is in pain.

Puppy diarrhea or mild diarrhea in smaller breeds can quickly cause dehydration, so a trip to the vet is warranted.


If your adult dog only has diarrhea as a symptom, then the best approach is to withhold food for 12 - 24 hours. Water should never be withheld to prevent dehydration. After 12 - 24 hours, provide a bland diet in small amounts such as cooked, never raw lean ground turkey and white rice. Food should be served in the quantity of 1 tbsp per 10 pounds of body weight every few hours for 12-24 hours after the fasting period. Increase the amount of food provided as long as the diarrhea is improving. Continue for 1 - 2 days and then gradually restore the normal diet in 3 to 4 days.

If symptoms don't improve after trying the aforementioned diet change or if diarrhea is frequent see your veterinarian to avoid dehydration and for a complete diagnosis. Your dog might need an antibiotic or other treatment for the condition."


The dog health guide is a complete resource for understanding the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of canine diarrhea. Most cases of diarrhea in dogs can be cured be implementing a fast for 12 - 24 hours followed by a temporary switch to a bland diet. Persistent canine diarrhea, changes in behavior or diarrhea and vomiting together indicate a more complicated problem that requires the care of a veterinarian.

Never stop providing your dog with water to avoid dehydration. If a dog will not drink try ice cubes. If your dog still refuses to drink, particularly if small breed or puppy with diarrhea, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Quick Links to information on Canine Diarrhea

Control Dog Diarrhea
Common Causes of Canine Diarrhea

Problems with the Pancreas
Diarrhea due to Enzyme Deficiency

Diarrhea and Irritable Bowel Disease

Small and Large Intestine Problems

Viral Causes

Parvo virus

Illness as a cause of dog diarrhea

Dog with Diarrhea Symptoms

Gray Color
Yellow Color
Vomit Color
Vomit and Diarrhea Together
Symptoms of Intestinal Causes of Diarrhea

Treatment of Dog With Diarrhea
Canine Diarrhea Over the Counter Human Medication

Dog Diarrhea Diet
Chicken and Rice Diet
Use of Probiotics and Prebiotics
Natural Medicine

Dog Diarrhea
Dog diarrhea caused by canine salmon poisoning
Diarrhea often stops after the toxins have been eliminated from the body

Source: WSU College of Veterinary Medicine

Dog Diarrhea Problems and Signs

Canine diarrhea is a symptom of many diseases and is a reflection of a problem in the way your dog's body is absorbing nutrients. When this system becomes out of balance due to an infection, illness, allergy, parasites or medication that your dog doesn't tolerate well, the body reacts with diarrhea.

Dog Diarrhea Guide

Dog Diarrhea Problems

Possible Cause


More than a few drops of Blood in Diarrhea

Possible serious illness or intestinal disease

Visit Vet ASAP

Diarrhea and Vomiting

Poisoning, Parvo, Illness

Visit Vet ASAP

Change in Behavior such as Depression


Visit Vet ASAP

Combination of:
  • Stomach pain
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach Rumbling
  • Vomiting
  • Gas
  • Dehydration
  • Changed appetite
  • Dark bloody stools
  • Low levels of protein in the blood (Hypoproteinemia)
* Fluid buildup in the abdomen (Ascites)

* Fluid buildup in the tissue such as swelling in the legs
Small Intestine Problem Fast for 12 to 24 hours. Provide water or ice cubes. After fasting period, change to bland diet such as cooked lean ground turkey or chicken plus rice for 12 - 24 hours. See Veterinarian if condition does not improve.
Diarrhea - including mucus, bright red blood
* Constipation
* Increased frequency of defecation
* Difficulty defecating or urinating (Tenesmus)
* Inability to defecate without pain or difficulty (Dyschezia)
* Vomiting
* Weight loss
Large Intestine Disease Fast for 12 - 24 hours. Change diet to chicken/rice for 24 hours. See Veterinarian if condition does not immediately improve.
Diarrhea only symptom Mild Infection, allergy, food intolerance Change diet to chicken/rice for 24 hours. If recurs see Vet.
Dog Yellow Diarrhea Food Intolerance, Eating of non-digestible object Hold food for 24 hours. Change diet to chicken/rice after 24 hours. Plenty of water. If recurs or doesn't stop after 24 hours see Vet.
Black Feces Bleeding or irritation in the digestive tract See your veterinarian to be checked for serious disease
Light colored feces Liver problems See your veterinarian
Grey feces with strong odor Calm digestive system. Withhold food for 24 hours. Provide water. Use chicken/rice diet.  

Dog with Diarrhea Treatment

Most veterinarians will begin treatment by checking your dog for parasitic causes of diarrhea. If this is ruled out then they move on to dietary change.

Mild Diarrhea in Dogs Treatment

For suspected mild gastrointestinal causes, such as intestinal tract inflammation, a vet will recommend fasting for 12 - 24 hours followed by small amounts of a bland diet, such as cooked lean ground turkey and rice. Feed at 1tbsp per 10 pounds of body weight. Provide a small serving every few hours for 12 - 24 hours after fasting. If the diarrhea improves, gradually increase the amount of bland diet provided over the next 1 - 2 days.  Over the next 3 - 4 days, transition back to your dog's normal diet, by gradually reducing the amount of bland food, replacing it with your dog's normal diet.

Persistent Diarrhea in Dogs

For cases that do not go away, a vet may also recommend dietary change, but with a switch from your dog's current diet to a commercially available hypoallergenic diet to see if food allergy is the cause. This type of diet can also be prepared at home. Many vets suggest a commercial diet that contain hydrolyzed proteins since this type of protein is absorbed better into the body. Most dogs do well with this type of diet and will respond in one week to 10 days.

If this doesn't help, medications are prescribed that help with canine diarrhea caused by issues such as colitis. Usually this involves the drug metronidazole and an increase of fiber in the diet. Other choices include antibiotics to fight any bacterial infection (metronidazole, tylosine, tetracycline).

If this doesn't work then additional testing is done including blood tests, examination of the digestive system and biopsies of the intestines.

After ruling out other causes your veterinarian may indicate that your dog as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBD). Treatment for this condition includes several weeks of prescription corticosteroids. If it works the drug is slowly decreased in dose over time.

Natural Remedies for Dog Diarrhea

If diarrhea is a persistent problem and all of the above has been ruled out, then it might make sense to try restoring balance to your dogs digestive system such as Runni Poo Relief. It includes ingredients known to improve digestive function and health such aslantago major (Plantain), Alchemilla vulgaris (Lady’s Mantle) and Podophyllum (6C), all known for helping to restore normal stools. Discuss this option with your veterinarian.

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We will do our best to get back to you quickly (depends on how many questions we receive each day). If you do require an immediate response we suggest using this online dog veterinary service that is available now.

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References for Dog Diarrhea

F.P. Gaschen
School of Veterinary Medicine
Louisiana State University